July 28, 2011

Whiteface and Passaconaway

whiteface1We've spent a lot of time up in New Hampshire this summer, piling up 4000 footers, enjoying time at the big lake, and spending time with family and friends. This past week was no different. My family has a generally annual stay up at Lake Winnipesaukee in Moultonborough, NH and this year they were up there once again. Being on the north side of the lake meant that we would be only a half an hour from the trailhead of the two southernmost 4000 foot peaks, Mounts Whiteface and Passaconaway. So we packed up our gear and made our way to the very isolated and picturesque Wonalancet, NH.

whiteface2Mo was jokingly upset that she was not invited on our last trek up the Osceolas. She described that hike as "Katy and O minus Mo". Well we were plus Mo once again for the 11.5 mile loop over Whiteface and Passaconaway and the three of us were at the trailhead at around 9:00AM. When we arrived we bumped into another young couple from Nashua, NH in the parking lot. They were peakbagging too and had done 14 up to that point. We saw them several times throughout the hike along with a few other groups. Generally the trail was pretty quiet, though, on a clear day but hazy with temperates well into the 90's in the valleys. We worked our way up the Blueberry Ledge Trail in the heat with some of the trail exposed to the sun. The climb was relatively straightforward with the exception of the last half mile which consisted of some pretty significant rock scrambling. Fortunately it was dry, though, so we were able to scramble up without too much trouble. We made it to the open and exposed viewpoint just below the true summit at about 11:30AM.

whiteface3We had good views of Lake Winnipesaukee from the top, and stopped for some lunch, snacks, and pictures before continuing on over the true summit of Whiteface and then onward to the summit of Passaconaway. It was over three miles of hiking between the peaks but the trail was pretty easy with just the final three quarters of a mile offering some steep grades. Passaconaway had a wooded summit, but there were several ledges and viewpoints close by. After another quick stop we headed back down the Dicey's Mill Trail to complete the loop. We motored down with Katy setting her typical blistering descent pace. I think her new hiking poles helped as well. We arrived back at the trailhead at around 4:00PM for the completion of numbers 20 and 21!

whiteface4This was a fun hike in a neat area. The trailhead is actually home to a network of trails that all kick off from private property at the end of a dead end road. It had a bit of a different feel to it then the notches to the north and there definitely may be more worth exploring once our 4000 footers are complete. For now, though, the beat goes on as we continued the rest of a relaxing week at the lake and are trying to coordinate getting to the halfway point of 24 peaks before Katy goes back for her second year of law school and our schedules quickly fill up once again!

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